Cycle speedway was born on the bomb sites of post-war Europe where thrill-seekers raced each other around dirt tracks on steel bikes with no gears or brakes. In a format where four riders go head-to-head over four laps of a short oval dirt track.
The new generation of female riders are helping to revive this niche type of cycling. The revival has been led by Great Britain women’s team captain Vicky Brown, who is 20 and from Hathersage near Sheffield.
“You don’t have any brakes, so the only way to stop is by putting your foot out. Riders are going as fast as they can to win. There are a lot of crashes.”
Sheffield held the first cycle speedway races in 1946. The sport is growing quickly, consequently a purpose built 70 metre track was assembled at Graves Leisure Centre in 2011 and is now home to the Sheffield Stars, one of the country’s biggest clubs, boasting three GB women’s riders. Nationally there are 30 clubs with about 1000 members.
With the Tour De France starting in Yorkshire on 5 July, it is seen as an opportunity to broaden the appeal of the sport and attract new members. In fact, the route goes right past the Stars’ track.
Information courtesy of the BBC. For more information visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/26479460